Ursula Le Guin’s writing style is like one I have never seen before. Most of the fantasy writers that I know take pages upon pages to pour as much detail as possible into every single scene and moment in the book. Most of the time, this results in the book being over six hundred pages long, even if they only cover a few months’ worth of content. Ursula Le Guin, on the other hand, was tasked with cramming many years of content into a much slimmer book. Just in the first chapter, she managed to tell the reader everything from how Duny “was born in a lonely village called Ten Alders, high on the mountain at the head of the northward vale,” to how, now dubbed Ged, “he set off with his new master through the steep slanting forests of the mountain isle, through the leaves and shadows of bright autumn,” at the age of thirteen (pg. 1, pg. 17). From this I can say that Le Guin’s writing style is very speedy, however not rushed. She is very good at skipping over unnecessary details and skimming over the ones that are needed. She gives the reader just enough content so that they remain interested but continue to speed through the timeline at a great pace. Due to this, whenever she slows down even a bit, to explain an important moment or scene, it seems like a beautiful expanded moment. Even a short sentence where Le Guin slows down and tells us how Duny “looked down at his thin arms, wet with cold fog-dew, and raged at his weakness, for he knew his strength,” builds greatly on an important theme that is seen in whole book (pg. 10). In conclusion, Le Guin’s writing style is genius in the way that she speeds up the pace of the novel to a point where everything is happening much faster than it does in other books, but still, she retains the same amount of detail and importance on every page.
What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?
In the first chapter of Ursula Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea, many things about her writing style stands out. Her artistic use of imagery, foreshadowing, the plot itself, all stand out and twine together to build the introduction to what will no doubt be an amazing story. What stood out most about Ursula Le Guin’s writing style was the way she gave us information in blocks. In chapter 1, you can see that several paragraphs are about a certain scenario and how the next few have moved on to an entirely different scene. For example, we start “when the boy was seven years old” and then we end when “the boy was thirteen years old” (pg 2, 16). 6 years of life is quite a lot of information to digest in 16 pages. This large amount of information is organized into blocks, paragraphs that outline certain scenarios, that are crucial to our understanding of our protagonist. We start with a few paragraphs about the protagonist’s aunt, and how “he did all the witch asked of him and learned of her all she taught”, then we move onto a few paragraphs about how he “scared off the Kargish swordsmen with a mess of shadows”, and finally the end of the first chapter brings a few paragraphs about “Ogion the Silent” and how “he [our protagonist] set off with his new master” (pg 6, 15, 16, 17). Ursula Le Guin’s ability to condense such a large amount of information into concise sets of paragraphs allows us to retain and understand a large influx of information in a short amount of time. This admirable skill that allows her readers to better understand her story stands out, especially when you realize how much information is being thrown your way.
Question: What stood out about Le Guin’s overall writing style in chapter 1 of this novel?
When reading Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of EarthSea, the things that stood out most to me were the direct-to-the-point writing style, the slightly passive nature of her choice to write in the 3rd person, as well as the descriptions in her writing. When reading the first chapter of this book, the reader is presented with a direct summary of the person that the main character will become, as well as where he started. She tells us the story through direct points in Duny’s life that matter to the story, leaving out details that would not add to the story or character. Le Guin also tells us the story using essay-like language that transitions into a very fantasy-writing-type sentence, such as “This was Duny’s first step on the way he was to follow all his life, the way of magery, the way that led him at last to hunt a shadow over land and sea to the lightless coasts of death’s kingdom.” pg. 5. The first bit to that quote seems like something out a book review, but the middle to the end of the sentence becomes mystical and much more descriptive than expected. This type of sentence structure is used a couple of times throughout the first chapter, creating a mysterious feeling that engages the reader into wanting to know more, as well as reinforcing the 3rd person point of view that Le Guin writes in. Her third person point of view’s writing, as mentioned before, is written like an essay, using language such as ‘this’, ‘as’ and ‘when’ to start sentences. The outstanding part of using the essay-like language is how Le Guin then adds in description unexpectedly, seen when “Some of the band stopped when they felt the land grow rough underfoot, but others pressed right on, seeking the phantom village, following dim wavering shapes that fled just out of reach before them.” pg.13. This sentence seems like it would be a short sentence with not much description, ending at the first comma, but gives us a vivid picture in our heads of what is happening in the novel. Frequent but not overused usage of the unexpected descriptions allows the reader to see what is happening in the world, without knowing every detail. This contributes to the mystical sense that the writing gives us. Overall, Le Guin’s novel takes advantage of being direct, writing in the 3rd person and giving good descriptions to stand out from other fantasy novels.
What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?
The imagery Le Guin uses in Chapter 1 aids in the overall energy of the novel. Her detailed description of the setting emphasizes the importance of the setting’s role in the plot. The illustration of small items provides a deeper connection, for example when she writes, “It was low and dusky, windowless, fragrant with herbs that hung drying from the cross pole of the roof, mint and moly and thyme, yarrow and rushwash and paramal, kingsfoil, clovenfoot, tansy and bay” (3-4). Although the description isn’t necessary, it increases the image within our minds and provides a deeper feeling. Le Guin purposely avoids going too in-depth into the characters’ appearances, allowing for inferences and creativity to take its place within the story. Some of the only character description that takes place in Chapter 1 is when Duny “looked down at his thing arms, wet with cold fog-dew and raged at his weakness…” barely stating anything about his actual appearance (10). The imagery Le Guin uses in specific scenarios highlights the importance of the description, allowing for a better image for the reader. An example of this is when she writes, “The fog was thinning under the heat of the sun that shone bare above on the peak in a bright sky,” setting the scene and providing an image within our heads (10). All of the intense setting and vague character description supports not only the plot of the novel, but the feeling as well.
The main thing that stood out in the first part of Ersula Le Guin’s “Wizard of Earthsea” is her unique and fresh writing style, compared to many modern authors. One of the first things I noticed is that she doesn’t go into the different points of view of the characters within the book. An example of this third-person perspective is: “’Speak!’ she said to test the spell. The boy could not speak, but he laughed.” (9) When I used to read fantasy novels, there was always at least one character that the story was told from. You would see all their thoughts and their perspective of the story. But Le Guin has more of a camera point of view, where she describes everything from a third person point of view and can’t see the direct thoughts of the character. The second thing I noticed about the story is that there is very heavy expanded moments and imagery. Le Guin tries to add as much detail as possible into every scene and passage. A very good example of this is the scene where the witch puts a spell on Duny, right before the previous quote. “He sat while his aunt bound back her uncombed hair, and knotted the belt of her dress, and again sat cross-legged throwing handfuls of leaves into the firepit, so that a smoke spread and filled the darkness of the hut.” (9) This adds an extreme example of “show not tell” that’s almost overdone in my opinion. The imagery is so overdone to an extent where all we are seeing is pretty pictures, but I personally feel like there is a bit of character development lacking. The last thing I noticed in her writing style is her strong understanding of the in-world environment. I feel like when she wrote the book, she understood very well, what the setting of this fantasy world looks like, and she is able to convey that setting very well to us. We can see this in the opening of the story: “ From the towns in its high valleys and the ports on its dark narrow bays many a Gontishman has gone forth to serve the Lords of Archipelago in their cities as wizard as wizard or mage, or looking for adventure, to wander working from isle to isle of all Earthsea.” (1). It feels like this imaginary world of hers was in her head for a while and she knows its inner workings, even better then the novel describes it. I’m sure there are many dreamt up places in her universe that will never be displayed in her books, only in her imagination.
Ursula Le Guin’s use of literary tools in A Wizard of Earthsea help establish the story by painting a picture of the world in the mind of the reader. The figurative language in A Wizard of Earthsea illustrates many ideas in little words. When Le Guin writes that Duny “grew wild, a thriving weed”, the reader can interpret many things about Duny (2). The metaphor shows that Duny grew fast but was also trouble that no one could contain. This is important information about the main character that would normally take a couple sentences to write. Le Guin also uses expanded moments to build tension. When Duny’s aunt is getting ready to cast a spell on Duny, Le Guin takes the time to describe the environment; she describes how the “aunt bound back her uncombed hair, and knotted the belt of her dress, and again sat cross-legged throwing handfuls of leaves into the firepit,” (5). This description draws the reader in and gives them a better idea of the setting and the actions of the characters. Ursula Le Guin also uses foreshadowing to keep the reader intrigued. Throughout the first chapter, Le Guin and her characters mention the power that Duny holds and his potential. On the first page, Le Guin mentions that the story will describe the origin of “the greatest voyager” (1). This makes the reader see Duny as a more powerful character, even in the moments where he is not showing off his power. The literary tools used in the first chapter of A Wizard of Earthsea describe the characters and environment in an effective and compelling way.
What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?
In chapter one of the Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, she utilizes literary devices like expanded moment, imagery and foreshadowing while giving readers the information they need and simultaneously avoiding what may distract from the moments in time she chooses to present. When we’re first introduced to Duny, Ursula describes him as “the greatest voyager […] called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage,” alluding to his promising future (1). This gives us high expectations for the main character and piques our interest as to how he gets from a simple bronze-smith’s son to one of the most powerful mages in the land. The sense of wonder and fantasy continues in Ursula’s description of Duny’s life. Following his awry spell with the goats, his aunt takes him in and explains the power within him. When his aunt “[sits] cross-legged throwing handfuls of leaves into the firepit, so that smoke spread[s] and fill[s] the darkness of the hut” and “she [begins] to sing[,] her voice [changing] sometimes to low or high as if another voice [sings] through her” Ursula lengthens the moment to show the significance of Duny’s first real spell. By describing the aunt’s singing, actions, and the smoke, she transports you into a crucial moment in Duny’s life. This juxtaposes “he went from word to word and from spell to spell with the witch till he was twelve years old”, as it’s a big jump in time as opposed to the lengthened one aforementioned, and in relation to when “the boy was seven years old, untaught and knowing nothing of the arts and powers […] in the world” yet they are only a few pages apart (7,2). Ursula manages to span five years in five pages and also delve into the scenes that make up the essence of Duny and who he grows to become. In conclusion, Ursula Le Guin’s use of literary devices expanded moment and foreshadowing as well as her ability to manipulate time in her novel stood out the most in chapter one of her novel the Wizard of Earthsea.
Question: What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?
In Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea what stands out the most to me in Chapter One is how she foreshadows a lot throughout the first chapter. There are lots of hints that are dropped, some obvious whereas others may be more vague, but they are still there. For example, when we are told at the beginning of the story that “some say the greatest, and surely the greatest voyager, was the man called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage,” we know that this Sparrowhawk person must be a famous and well-known person (1). This quote directly lets us know we are going to go through tale of how Sparrowhawk became so great. Because of this, we now want to know how he became such a famous person and we become hooked to read on. Another example of foreshadowing is when Ogion visits Ten Alders village. The bronze-smith states that Ogion is no common folk, the latter of whom replies “nor will this boy be a common man” (15). This statement tells us that Duny will become someone great, and not just some common person. This also engages us into the story more because we want to know what exactly the mysterious newcomer means that Duny is no common man, and if he is so unique then what will he become? Foreshadowing is something in the first chapter that stands out to me the most, and I believe Ursula Le Guin did a great job maintaining our interest while giving us subtle hints about what will happen in the future.
Ursula Le Guins’ The Wizard of Earthsea uses many literary devices to portray not only a story but also an image. Through her writing, I can see that she uses imagery and expanded moments to get her point across. She chooses exact moments to write in detail, giving us snippets of information so we can slowly start to piece it together ourselves. For example, when Le Guin writes, “it was low and dusky, windowless, fragrant with herbs that hung dry […]” it gives the reader a vivid image of the aunt’s cottage. Just from this excerpt, we start to visualize what the aunt is like, without even reading about her. Her writing style flows and creates a swift river out of the plot. (pg. 3-4) She uses compound-complex sentence’s more than anything and makes it seem as if we’re gliding. Le Guin also uses time gaps in her writing. It teleports readers from one setting to another from just a simple paragraph change. Unlike most writers who ease their readers into the time change, Le Guin simply shifts the view. This is effective for it keeps the writing concise, engaging and challenges the reader to read between the lines. For example, the paragraphs on page 8 seem like two entirely different stories but after analyzing, it becomes clear that there is a jump in time. This keeps the reader hooked because she shows them rather than telling them. Overall, I am very intrigued by the plotline of this book and can’t wait to continue reading!
Throughout the first chapter of Ursula Le Guin’s novel Wizards of Earthsea you can see various literary tools in use. By using these tools she is able to put emphasis on specific plot points. The most commonly used literary devices include Foreshadowing, Imagery, Parallelism, and Personification. These styles assist the author in bringing attention to certain plot points within the novel. Firstly, Foreshadowing is used at the very beginning to bring attention to magic throughout the novel. Foreshadowing such as “His life is told of in the Deed of Ged and in many songs, but this is a tale of the time before his fame before the songs were made,” this quote shows us how important the main character is automatically centering the novel about his journey (1). This quotation is also a great form of parallelism and focuses us on the before effects of Ged’s journey. Both these devices are trying to focus the reader of Ged and his journey to fame. Moreover, Imagery and Personification are used in the battle with the Kargs when Duny uses a smoke spell to save the village. Le Guin uses personification to describe the smoke as though it is alive, drawing the reader to the unearthliness of magic as a whole and to Duny’s power. Imagery is also used to the same effect. Overall, Le Guin uses literary tools to focus the plot of the novel.